SANTA CLARA – The 49ers absorbed another big loss from their exciting victory in New Orleans on Sunday, as starting nose tackle D.J. Jones sustained a “significant” ankle injury, coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday.
Shanahan said the 49ers are bracing to lose Jones for the remainder of the season. Jones started all 11 games in which he appeared this season. He has recorded 23 tackles and two sacks.
“We’re worried about it,” Shanahan said. “We’ll wait on some other opinions and stuff, but it’s a pretty significant one.”
The 49ers could activate defensive lineman Kentavius Street from injured reserve. He began practicing with the club last week after going on IR before the first game of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Street was a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2018 from North Carolina State. He missed his entire rookie season with an ACL injury.
“It feel great,” Street said. "Just knocking some rust off, just making sure my tools are as sharp as they can be. But besides that, I feel great.
"Oh, yeah. I could run through a wall right now.”
In Jones’ absence, the 49ers can turn to Solomon Thomas or Sheldon Day to start at nose tackle, with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead also capable of playing different spots on the defensive line.
“He’s irreplaceable,” Buckner said. “D.J. is explosive. He can really hurt you in the run game and you saw his pass-rush skills. He just goes right through people. He’s a really good D-lineman, and he’s going to be one of the guys who’s really missed.
“Everybody has to kick up their game a notch.”
The 49ers placed two offensive players on season-ending injured reserve this week. Center Weston Richburg sustained a torn patellar tendon in the victory over the Saints. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is out with knee and ankle issues.
“That’s December football,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “Everyone across the league has that, dealing with injuries. But it’s just when guys get their number called, whether it’s offense, defense or special teams, guys who haven’t even played that much, they’re just ready for the moment. And so you got to appreciate that.
“I think you got to give our coaches a lot of credit for getting those ready in practice, the behind-the-scenes stuff and it’s starting to pay off now.”
Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have built enough depth on the team over the past three seasons to be able to withstand a lot of injuries. That depth will be needed more than ever, with defensive end Dee Ford and cornerback Richard Sherman also expected to miss time with injuries.
“(With) John and Kyle, the past couple years have been really hard,” Buckner said. “We’ve been rebuilding, obviously. Just to have that patience to (build) that depth that we have now, it’s working out for us.”
The following players are not scheduled to practice on Wednesday:
DE Dee Ford (hamstring)
DT D.J. Jones (ankle)
CB Richard Sherman (hamstring)
SS Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)
CB K’Waun Williams (concussion)